“The studio had a strong, unshakable belief that this movie needed to be marketed to young men, specifically,” Cody told Fox during the ET Live sit-down, recalling one particularly egregious email from a “marketing person” that reduced the rich complexity of the film to three words: “Megan Fox hot.”
As Fox herself observed, that marketing strategy also relied on the false notion that the actress’ most ardent fans are straight young men.
“It’s funny, people assume … that most of my fan base is male, and it’s not true,” she told Cody. “It’s young girls.”
Indeed, I’d wager that, much like Needy herself, many of Fox’s fans are young women who either want to be her, want her, or both. The genius of casting an actress like her in Jennifer’s Body is that few stars capture that very Sapphic slipperiness between aspiration and outright desire. Fox makes it look easy in a performance that has stood the test of time.
It’s not surprising that I hear more conversations about Jennifer’s Body now than I ever did back in 2009. The queer girls found it even though it wasn’t marketed to them because, much like Jennifer after her ritualistic transformation, they were hungry and they needed to feast. Thanks to their repeated rewatching and their fan art and their obsession, the movie has become one of Cody’s best-known projects of his.
“If somebody stops me,” the screenwriter told Fox, “it’s always some 22-year-old who wants to talk to me about Jennifer’s Body.”
It’s those same 22-year-olds who made me realize Patricia Wants to Cuddle would have a home in 2022. The kids have grown up and they want weird queer shit. In one short decade, we’ve gone from studios assuming that only men would be interested in a film like Jennifer’s Body to Showtime actively courting a female audience for a cannibalism drama that was executive produced by none other than Karyn Kusama.
By the time yellowjackets began to air, I had already committed to my own gonzo idea, and Patricia was well on its way toward publication. Still, I had pangs of nervousness about just how weird my book was — concerns that ran in an eerie parallel with Cody’s own de ella after she finished writing the script for Jennifer’s Body.
“I think I was aware of how bizarre it was,” she told Fox. “Like, right off the bat, I was like, this is not a super commercial movie.”
But every time I saw another friend post a Letterboxd rave of Jennifer’s Bodyand every time I saw an Instagram page post a meme about how excited they were for someone to get eaten on yellowjackets, I gained a little more courage. And now I can’t wait for Patricia to meet a world that is more than ready for her.
Patricia Wants to Cuddle is out June 28 from Zando.
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